On October 18, veteran Garnet Elias Bourgaize of Chateauguay will celebrate his 100th birthday. This is a meeting with a very bright centenarian.
Translation Dan Rosenburg
The gentleman was born in the Gaspe. He was transported to France from Nova Scotia in his 20s, to go to the World War 2 battle field. His role in the Canadian Army was that of an engineer. He rebuilt bridges. In 1945, he returned to Quebec to heal his war injuries. In his lifetime, he has been an engineer for various transport companies which used the St. Lawrence Seaway.
For him, Branch 108 of the Royal Canadian Legion located on Gilmour street in Chateauguay is a very important place. He attends monthly meetings and sometimes goes to the organization’s events.
His age does not prevent him from being present at all Remembrance Day ceremonies that take place in certain elementary schools in Chateauguay.
What he thinks of the world today: ‘’It’s really different,’’ he says. Do you believe that the government does enough for veterans? ‘’For me, it’s not too bad. They have helped me a lot,’’ he reports.
Elias Bourgaize does not really have a longevity secret. ‘’I don’t know. All the members of my family died young. My father passed away when I came back from the war in 1945 and two years later, it was my mother’s turn. Two of my brothers died young. One was only five years old and the other was 30. They are all dead now. I met a lot of friends overseas. I have a nice entourage today (…). I did not try to live as long as this. I didn’t expect this. I never thought about death when I was in the Army,’’ he let it be known.
The venerable senior citizen remains active. He often goes to St.Andrew’s Church for Sunday Mass and participates in poppy campaigns.
When the author of these lines asked him if she could take a photo of him, he quipped; ‘’Don’t break your camera!’’